MLC901 Favors Angiogenesis and Associated Recovery after Ischemic Stroke in Mice

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Background: There is increasing evidence that angiogenesis, through new blood vessel formation, results in improved collateral circulation and may impact the long-term recovery of patients. In this study, we first investigated the preventive action of a 5-week pretreatment of MLC901, an herbal extract preparation derived from Chinese medicine, against the deleterious effects of ischemic stroke and its effects on angiogenesis in a model of focal ischemia in mice. Methods: The stroke model was induced by 60 min of middle cerebral artery occlusion followed by reperfusion. MLC901 was administered in the drinking water of animals (6 g/l) for 5 weeks before ischemia and then during reperfusion. Results: MLC901 treatment increased the survival rate, reduced the cerebral infarct area and attenuated the blood brain barrier leakage as well as the neurologic dysfunction following ischemia and reperfusion. We provide evidence that MLC901 enhances endothelial cell proliferation and angiogenesis by increasing the number of neocortical vessels in the infarcted area. MLC901 regulates the expression of hypoxic inducible factor 1α and its downstream targets such as vascular endothelial growth factor and angiopoietins 1 and 2. This work also shows that erythropoietin is an important player in the enhancement of angiogenesis by MLC901. Conclusions: These results demonstrate therapeutic properties of MLC901, in addition to those previously described, in stimulating revascularization, neuroprotection and repair of the neurovascular unit after ischemic stroke.

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